E037 - Embrace The Suck with Stoic Philosophy!
This time on Across The Peak Rich and I tell you how to embrace the suck and stop worrying about shit that doesn’t matter with stoic philosophy.
What Did You Do This Week?
Rich: BJJ, lift, run, read Sebastian Junger’s Tribe
Justin: Not much…some very light workouts and dry practice
Laying the foundation:
What is philosophy? Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, and rational argument. Seems simple enough.
What is a Stoic? A Stoic is one who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure or pain. The goal isn’t to banish all emotion, it is to banish all negative emotions.
What’s the History of Stoicism? The Cynics came first. And from the cynics, Zeno gives us Stoic Philosophy. The Cynics were all about austerity. They dressed like homeless, because they were homeless and they lived a hard scrabble, hand to mouth existence. Stoics didn’t seem to like the life of a beggar. The Stoics, it has been observed, changed the practical philosophical ideas of the Cynics into the theoretical.
Misconceptions about the Stoics:
· Stoicism isn't about poverty; you can be rich and be a Stoic.
· Stoicism is largely about "...accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain..." Or something like that.
Five Stoic psychological techniques worthy of mastering:
1. Negative visualization: No matter how hard you try to stop them bad things are going to happen to you and those you love. Meditate on the things that might adversely affect you and your loved ones, so you can plan and take preventive measures to mitigate them from happening. Even if mitigation fails you have already mentally rehearsed the terrible things and those will lessen there emotional impact.
2. Let go of being controlling. It is controlling you: You need to know whether you have an internal or external locus of control. Take the test here. An early Stoic Philosopher named Epictetus understand that placing your happiness upon things that you have no control over is madness. He wrote, “Somethings are up to us and some are not up to us.” This is obviously ambiguous and some may find it confusing. The challenge is to realize what you can and cannot exert control over.
4. Self-Denial as an act of Self-Love: Make yourself suffer. Go without eating, shoes, sleep, sex etc. Harden yourself, your mind, body and spirit against misfortune by routinely depriving yourself of life’s pleasures and comforts.
5. Meditating and constantly evaluating our daily lives: At bedtime, Stoic philosopher Sextius meditated upon his day asking, “What ailment of yours have you cured today?”
Should you become a Stoic? How should I know. I’m not the boss of you.
Book of the Week
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B. Irvine
Civility Rule of the Week
2nd - When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
From George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company & Conversation